Vassilis Chantziaras

Fit for the Future

Some of us grew up at a time where only some families had a fixed phone line. We might even remember that we had to go to our neighbors’ home to make a call. I guess most of us remember visiting a travel agency to buy our travel tickets. Our parents worked for the same employer for years and years. In some countries people who worked over 30-40 years for the same employer, used to get a gift for long term loyalty. Our parents were convinced that certain jobs are great and we better aim to follow this path. Ideally continuing the same profession, they had chosen. That was consider back then, a great way to create a “solid” future.

This has been the world of the last century for (more or less) most of the people in the so called “Western World”. Nowadays there are more and more publications suggesting that the jobs that exist today might disappear in the next decades. We read that the jobs that will be in trend in 10, 20 years from now, don’t even exist right now. We just need to think of some people claiming a job title of a “Vlogger” or “YouTuber”. Who would ever imagine a “job title” like this 20 years ago.

The skills required for us to thrive in the future are mostly unknown. The future of work is quite unpredictable. The pace of change right now is exponential. They say that the change in the in the next 30 years might be equivalent of the change that happened in the last 300 years.

Who knows what could be the Leadership skills required from Organizations, if one day they end up “employing” 80% humanoid robots and only 20% humans?

The rise of the so called VUCA world has already a major impact for all of us, especially the ones that actively lead teams. First of all, many of these teams are based in different locations around the globe. This means that the biggest part of the collaboration is virtual. In addition, team members have diverse cultural and generational backgrounds. Hierarchical structures do not matter as they used to do. Not everyone in these teams is equally aware and/or comfortable with the existing set up and the upcoming changes. Leaders have a major role to play in helping their teams to become “Fit for the Future”.

According to research by McKinsey&Company social & emotional skills will remain relevant despite the rise of the digital world: “Our research finds that the strongest growth in demand will be for technological skills, the smallest category today, which will rise by 55 percent and by 2030 … This surge will affect demand for basic digital skills as well as advanced technological skills such as programming. Demand for social and emotional skills such as leadership and managing others will rise by 24 percent…”. (Skill Shift Automation and the future of the workforce, Discussion Paper, May 2018).

It seems that the more we will have “machines” substituting humans at work, the more the added value of humans will have to be differentiated from the one of the machines. Leaders of the future have a real mission to start cultivating the new set of skills required. Skills related to Agility, Creativity and Digital Savviness.

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Thriving in a VUCA world with the help of Archetypes

In a world of constant change and disruption (a so-called VUCA world) leaders are required to be able to change and reinvent themselves (Change-Ability) and also to be able to understand, connect and motivate with a wide range of people with different worldviews (Personal Influence).

In that sense leaders need to be able to use different “qualities” within themselves and understand and adapt to different “qualities” of others in a global environment.

In reality all these “qualities” already exist, somewhere deep inside every human. Everyone of us is unique, still reflecting certain “qualities”, certain innate human characteristics, that can be recognized in different cultures, beyond time and place. These “qualities” are vividly represented in the form of Archetypes.

So, what are the Archetypes?

The word “archetype” has its origins in ancient Greek. The first part of the word “arche” means “original” and the second part of the word “-type” means “pattern”. The two words combined refer to an “original pattern”, i.e. a pattern to which various other entities, characters, personalities, concepts are derived. 

Carl Gustav Jung, the Swiss psychologist, used the term archetype, with regard to universal, mythical characters that reside within the collective unconscious. In that sense, archetypes represent the most fundamental, timeless and unique drivers of human motivation. 

The main breakthrough in making archetypes more tangible and easy to grasp happened when Prof. Carol Pearson wrote the book “Awakening the Heroes Within: Twelve Archetypes to Help Us Find Ourselves and Transform Our World”.

What are the twelve archetypes?

There have been many different versions of archetypes. There are books referring to 4 core archetypes or 6 archetypes or even 22 of them. In reality there are hundreds of archetypes that have been clustered in categories, to help people make sense of a complex world. The categorization of the 12 archetypes by C. Pearson offers a fairly wide and comprehensive range, which is still simple and memorable. See the image above the 12 different archetypes according to C. Pearson.

What is the practical application of archetypes in Leadership?

We can help you identify your dominant and silent archetypes. Identifying them will help you better understand yourself and how you experience and relate to the world. Becoming familiar with the model of archetypes will help you also to better understand others (your team, your boss, your customers). You will also be able to make more sense of how you and others have preferences around change vs. stability and independence vs. belonging. They will actually equip you with a very deep understanding of how you can increase your Change-Ability and Personal Influence.

I gained a lot of personal insight when I was able to identify that my dominant archetypes are the “innocent and the magician” archetypes. A combination of optimism and a desire for transformation, that allow me to see the bright side of constant change and also act as an enabler of transformation for individuals and organizations.

Would you be curious to know what your dominant archetypes are and what their impact is on you and others? Would you be curious to identify which of the archetypes you need to activate even more to increase your Change-Ability and Personal Influence? Would you be interested in joining one of our open seminars or even organize one for your team? We have created an exciting 1-day & 2-day workshop design, including self-reflection, videos, games, and support sessions.

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